Documentary on Algona Artist to be Screened Friday Evening

by Bernie Merrill
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–An Algona man who went on to become a world-renowned Artist and Illustrator is the feature of a documentary set to premiere Friday night at the Wilcox Performing Arts Center. Gary Kelley grew up in Algona before attending the University of Northern Iowa, where he majored in graphic design. Kelley spoke with KLGA News about the documentary, which he says was not his idea. 

UNI Filmmaker-In-Residence David O’Shields led the creation of the documentary, with grant support from the Haagard-Twogood Charitable Trust. Kelley says his art career really started at home with help from his family. 

Kelly says former AHS Football Coach Jim Hershberger was instrumental in his decision to attend UNI on a football scholarship, but it didn’t take long to discover where his future truly lay. 

Kelly says while he isn’t always comfortable talking about himself, the project really allowed him a chance to look at his work over the decades. 

Kelley began his professional career in 1967 by accepting a position in the design department at Rath Packing Company and later as the art director for Hellman Associates in Waterloo, where he developed a reputation as one of the nation’s most creative and productive illustrators. His work has been seen around the world, winning awards in New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris and Italy. The film will be screened at 7PM Friday inside the Wilcox Performing Arts Center in Algona, as the screening is free and open to the public. The producers of the documentary are working with Iowa Public Television to secure a statewide broadcast in the near future. 

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